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Marines look to space during NSOC

By Cpl. Lena Wakayama | | February 12, 2014

CAMP KINSER—U.S. service members participated in the Naval Space Operations Course put together by Navy Cyber Forces and supported by Naval Network Warfare instructors Jan. 27-29 at Camp Kinser.

The term space refers to the expanse beyond the earth’s atmosphere and the capabilities that exist through satellites that orbit the planet.

“The intent of the course is to raise the overall awareness of the range of space capabilities that exists to support war fighters,” said John Herron, an NSOC instructor. “It improves their use of those space capabilities and their understanding of potential vulnerabilities.”

The students in the course came from a variety of military occupational specialties and had little knowledge on the topic of space research and development.

“The main thing the class (entails) is baseline knowledge as far as the fundamentals of how space works,” said Capt. Andy Novario, an NSOC instructor. “Essentially this course is meant to form a baseline of knowledge because the Marine Corps is in the early stages of understanding of how space can help the war fighter.”

NSOC is a three-day course and is unique in the Department of Defense. The mobile course allows the training team to teach service members who may not be able to travel back to the U.S.
“We are willing to travel around, which makes it easier, especially here in the (Pacific Command area of operations),” said Novario. “We made it so that we have three or four instructors that travel out here, which is much more cost efficient than sending 20 people back to the States.”

The course was created for Navy carrier strike groups, but there is a Marine on staff and a section in the handbook dedicated to Marine operations, according to Maj. Brian C. Anderson, the III Marine Expeditionary Force space operations officer.

“We talked about tailoring to Marine operations because not everything we do (involves naval warfare),” said Anderson. “Communications are a big deal to command and control the forces during an amphibious operation. Going from ships to objectives gives us unique problems.”

The course also covered other topics that can affect communication capabilities in relation to the students’ needs.
“We tailor the course to the interest or concerns of the students,” said Herron. “We’re constantly updating all of the presentations that we use.”

This evolution of the course included a practical application exercise in the afternoon of the final day, allowing the students to apply the knowledge they learned during the course to a planning scenario.

“When they’re doing a normal planning scenario, they can see where they have been leaving things out,” said Herron. “They can see what (they) should be considering, what they hadn’t thought of, and how that will change the scenario and their plan.”

The continued Marine Corps involvement with Navy Cyber Forces and Naval Network Warfare Command is very important to the future success of this program, according to Anderson.
“There is a space (Marine Air-Ground Task Force) and a space plans branch at Headquarters Marine Corps,” said Anderson. “It’s a long-term goal to have them continue to influence the course. That way, when (the Marine Corps) requests it, it’s not just Navy Cyber and Naval Network Warfare funding it. There is a component to it that is service driven.”
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